EnergyBlog
 
 

Energy question of the week: What is the best way to harness solar energy?

26. July 2010, 11.25
On average, sunlight illuminates every single square metre of the Earth with 1340 watts of power. Measured on human timescales, this energy source is infinite; it warms our planet, enables plants to grow and is the engine driving the winds and weather. But which technology is best able to harness the power of sunlight?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Does the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico mean the end of deep sea drilling?

19. July 2010, 11.52
Since disaster struck the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico on 20 April 2010, up to nine million litres of crude oil have been gushing into the sea every day. It remains to be seen whether the recently installed 40-ton cap can really stop the majority of the oil flowing from the wellhead, 1500 metres under the sea. The spill will only be stopped definitively when the relief wells are completed in mid-August. But is this catastrophe the beginning of the end for deep sea drilling?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Can the human body be used as a power plant?

12. July 2010, 09.53
A human being performing light physical activity needs between 1800 and 3000 calories of energy each day. With hard work and sports, this energy requirement can double. Is it possible to obtain usable electricity or heat from this energy expenditure?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: How does a solar cell work?

05. July 2010, 10.19
At present, commercially available solar cells made from polycrystalline silicon operate with an efficiency of 20 percent. Special solar cells composed of other semiconductors such as gallium arsenide have already passed the 40 percent efficiency barrier. In contrast, cells based on organic materials or pigments convert only 10 percent of the sunlight into electrical current at best. All of these use the photovoltaic effect, but what actually happens in the process?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken